If you don’t know how to shoot something, don’t do it and expect to be paid. Be honest and upfront. Okay, there’s more to it of course. If you want to learn how to do something, absolutely learn it. However, if you take a paying job and you are in WAY over your head, it's probably not the smartest thing to do. I was inspired by a post that commercial photographer had vented about on social media. Someone had contacted him and wanted a step by step detailed guide on shooting a commissioned piece that this photographer had no business accepting … [Read more...] about Be honest and upfront on your work
A few weeks ago during Adobe Max 2018 some major updates were announced for the Adobe CC plans. While all of them were pretty exciting and amazing, (in theory), photographers were left pretty confused. The big question most of us had, was "What's up with this CC vs Classic thing for Lightroom?" and the more important one, "Should I upgrade/replace my currently Lightroom with the updated "Classic" and CC versions?" Making Sense of it All Well, to answer the specifics about Lightroom CC and Classic, I'll refer you to a few articles. What's … [Read more...] about Should You Update to Adobe Lightroom “Classic”?
Lasting Impacts of the Daguerreotype In the past few articles of this series, we’ve seen how the daguerreotype came about but we haven’t really taken a moment to look at just how far-reaching the effects of its “birth” were. For starters, the daguerreotype put an end to the portrait making business as it was known to the world. Skilled painters, who previously were the only means of creating a likeness of one’s self, were suddenly squeezed by the faster and cheaper process. Not only was the daguerreotype literally faster and easier to create … [Read more...] about Lasting Impacts of the Daguerreotype
Pretty much everyone reading this is all too familiar with JPEG's and the creation of large, small, printable, social media sized, etc images for clients. If you're like me and tend to shoot a fair number of weddings and events with LARGE, (sometimes obscenely so), catalogs of images, the delivery of these files to your clients can often be an absolute nightmare. Sharing online takes forever to upload and download....sometimes they want them on a Hard Drive or Thumb Drives and you just can't fit everything. Compile that with YOUR personal … [Read more...] about JPEGmini – Secret Weapon of The Photographer on the Move!
Grids. Banners. Cubes. Whatever you call them. More and more companies and individuals have been jumping onto this trend since the Summer of 2015. The owners of these instagram accounts segment one photo into typically 3, 6, 9, 12+, square blocks and post them in a progressive order, typically by using some apps that make it pretty simple-- like Giant Square or Banner Pic. The result is a pretty interesting Instagram profile that can break down the feed into sections or just displays the photo in a unique way. Instagram has been changing a … [Read more...] about Instagram Grids– Hot or Not?
Let's be real. Weddings can be beyond challenging. There are enough things to worry about as a photographer (timelines always running behind, crummy lighting conditions, weather issues, creativity blocks) without having to worry about family members throwing yet another wrench into you plan A, B, C, D, or even plan E. Yet, throw wrenches they do! The sister bridesmaid that says "Oooh! I saw this cute photo on Pinterest where all the girls lined up in their robes. Oh we have to do that!" "Yeah!" cheer the other bridesmaids in the room. "That … [Read more...] about Handling Difficult Family Members on Wedding Day
One of the most common posts I see in photography forums and groups are those upset about the prices other photographers are charging. While this may be a bit of a controversial post, I'd like to offer another way to view this oft argued subject. It never fails, after a year or two of charging for your services, you start running into the novice shoot-and-burn photogs. They sprout up out of nowhere and seem to multiply like rabbits. You see post after post of sessions for $50-$100 with a CD full of images. Immediately, your hackles rise and … [Read more...] about Every Photographer Has a Place
Great you finally have your website up and going. You have set up stat counter and google analytics. A few weeks later you check your stats and you don't have any visitors. You start internet searching and everything is overwhelming. A Quick Explanation on How Search Engines Work As you can imagine there are billions of websites and web pages out there. Search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo need to first locate and find all the websites. This is called "crawling". They are crawling the internet looking for new sites, old sites that no … [Read more...] about Stop Obsessing over Stats and SEO!
Through the years Ive taught a lot of photographers. Ive witnessed their struggles to stay relevant and competitive. Ive also seen a lot of bad things happen to creative professionals. Making a living has never been harder. But getting angry isn't the answer. Photography is about capturing the moments of life. We have a great responsibility to those we love and those we serve. It is our job to preserve memories and to be impassioned observers of life. If all you see is anger, you'll miss out on the emotion and creativity needed to create … [Read more...] about Don’t Let Anger Ruin Your Photography
If you're one of the more wide-eyed people who updated to Adobe Lightroom 6.2 right after it was launched a few days ago, you have likely come to rue that decision. Between the "Fisher Price"-ification of the Import flow to the ridiculous crashes caused due to bugs in the software, this update left much to be desired. Fortunately, Adobe has made good and released a critical maintenance update that supposedly fixes some of the issues. I still take umbrage with their decision to regress the Import workflow functionality by removing key features … [Read more...] about Adobe releases Lightroom 6.2.1 Maintenance Patch + An Author’s Rant
As creative professionals, we often build a network that spans outside of our area. Sometimes that leads to a job that might require travel. The big question is whether to charge for that travel time and any fees associated with getting to the gig? To Charge or Not to Charge? This is a true story of an event that caused me to question if I should charge a fee when shooting outside of my geographical area.This fee would be assessed for shoots when traveling a certain number of miles outside of my town. The money would be used to offset any … [Read more...] about Should you Charge an Out of Area Fee for Jobs on the Road?
Back in 2009, when I made my living photographing stock imagery, the size of the images we could license made a difference in our potential for sales. Photos were sold based on how big the file was (in megapixels), so photographers with large-megapixel cameras had a more competitive edge over those of us who did not. At the time, I was using a Nikon D200, a 12-megapixel camera, and felt pressured to upgrade. When it was obvious that Nikon (at the time) was not going to come out with anything with more than 12-megapixels, I decided to make the … [Read more...] about Megapixels: Does Size Matter?
OK. This is my first and as far as I am concerned, only rant. The genesis for this rant began in 1888 with the introduction by George Eastman of a disruptive technologyblack and white roll film. Not only did he provide roll film holders for practically every plate camera in existence at the time; he also introduced the box camera. The Kodak Box Camera a.k.a. Brownie was promoted with the words: You press the button, we do the rest. The camera cost $25.00. It came preloaded with enough film for one hundred exposures. When the last picture was … [Read more...] about Professional Photography Rant
Photographers love to create beautiful, interesting, and unique photographs. We carry several pounds of gear on our backs through forests and mountains to find beautiful and sought-after scenes. When we finally find something amazing and photograph it, it's a wonderful feeling knowing that we're are not repeating the same clich photograph that hundreds or thousands of other photographers have already created. And so it's no wonder that some photographers prefer to keep these locations a secret. I get it, I totally do. Portrait and wedding … [Read more...] about Should Photographers Keep Locations Secret?
I am a very lucky guy. I grew up in a household with parents who immigrated from Russia with absolutely nothing to their names and who worked so hard chasing the classic American Dream. They taught themselves English, found themselves jobs, and leaned heavily on their strong work ethic to earn for their family and provide me and my sister with everything we needed, giving us everything they never had as children. In other words, I was a spoiled Brooklyn kid. However, whatever misgivings I may have had as a spoiled child seems to pale in … [Read more...] about The Era of The Entitled Photographer
Are you a "real" photographer? Of course you are! If you love photography, regardless of your level of experience, then you fit the bill. However we have all seen, heard, or maybe even felt a little bit of dissuasion from other people (usually, other photographers) against how many of us define it. So I thought it would be fun to have a little bit of fun and jot down my response to some of the "myths" that we all see from time to time about how a "real" photographer is defined. Myth #1: Only real photographers shoot in Manual Mode. ALL THE … [Read more...] about Five Myths about “Real” Photographers
I'm a formal student of photography and probably will be a life-long student of it, and I'm faced with constant struggles in class. Although fighting through the completion of degree (that doesn't necessarily help you to not become a starving artist) is a very real, hefty and common problem that students face, there are deeper and more dampening issues for those photography protgs--especially for those who have been fueled by their passion and took it upon themselves to study and experiment, which includes me. While every student's education … [Read more...] about The Real Student Struggle
I'm a woman, and I like purses and bags. I am also a photographer, and so with that I tend to collect lots of cool bags. Yay, bags! I have more than I will use, some come and go with my photography style or locations I travel to, and some have stuck around and have been used for a very long time. Yet I am always on the hunt for a bag that fits my needs in many different ways. The are so many different types of camera bags: backpacks, purses, messenger bags, sling bags, and more. For the purposes of this article, I am lumping all bags into one … [Read more...] about Camera Bags: A Rant of Frustration from a Woman’s Perspective
I came across a quote earlier this week and thought that this might be good to open up to discussion. There are too many images, too many cameras now. Were all being watched. It gets sillier and sillier. As if all action is meaningful. Nothing is really all that special. Its just life. If all moments are recorded, then nothing is beautiful and maybe photography isn't an art anymore. Maybe it never was. ? Robert Frank Frank was quite known for his noncommercial work around the USA, although he was a commercial photographer for a part of his … [Read more...] about Maybe Photography Isn’t An Art Anymore. Maybe It Never Was
I just finished watching a , where they discuss critiquing the work of amateur photographers and how it is easy to be led astray. I'm sure we've all seen awful photos posted online and wondered what the photographer was thinking when they decided to share it. Sure, we all have to start somewhere, but no one is telling these people the truth! They have all been led to believe that their photographs are gorgeous, when in fact they have much to be desired. This got me thinking. When I started photography, my only "critique" was through the … [Read more...] about Photo Critiques: Please Tell Me I Suck (and Why)
If you're like me (and 200-million other people on this planet) you probably have an Instagram account. Instagram has redefined instant photo-sharing, making our mobile phones vessels to show the world what we eat, where we travel, and what our pets are doing. For me, I use it to share my life. Outings with friends, which are typically photography-related, end up as "behind the scenes" shares on my Instagram account, and meals at restaurants turn into mini-photo-shoots, assuming that the light near our table is decent enough for a … [Read more...] about Posting to Instagram: “Mobile Only”? Or “Anything Goes”?
I recently read a blog post from someone who casually mentioned that HDR (High Dynamic Range photography) was a "fad", and they were hoping it would eventually go away. Now this was, of course, a very opinionated statement, but it was not really one that was embellished with photos or even an explanation as to what their own definition of HDR is. After reading that it got me thinking, and I knew it would be a good topic to post here. So, without further ado, here's my very own opinionated "rant" about HDR. HDR is a Photographic Process, NOT a … [Read more...] about Is HDR a Fad?
It's rare that I step up on my soap box about gear... after all to each their own. But this one is just a pet peeve as it causes so many potential problems. The lens hood doesn't point this way when the lens is out of your camera bag! Hoods are reversed when packing the lens into a lens pouch or for shipping. This makes it more compact. Turn the lens hood around to provide physical protection to the front of your lens. This can minimize damage from drops, bumps, or running into things. Mounting the lens hood forward also cuts down on … [Read more...] about The Lens Hood — Don’t Be Like This Guy
We're putting together the editorial plan for next year. That's fancy talk for locking ourselves in a room and talking about how to make Photofocus the best it can possibly be. To do that, we'd like your opinion. Please answer the poll above. You can vote for multiple topics. You can only vote once. Feel free to write in topics. Please leave extra comments if you'd like below. ______ … [Read more...] about It’s Time to Vote — What do you want to learn about?
It's November 2, 2013. 15 years ago, on this date in 1998, I created Photofocus. I framed it as an "online magazine" because RSS hadn't been invented yet and "blogs" were something still in the future. I did attach audio segments every quarter, but these couldn't technically be called podcasts because again - podcasts require RSS. But many of the elements you see today were there 15 years ago. Just not nearly as refined or cool or valuable as what you see today :) I published once or twice a week at first. Within a year I was publishing every … [Read more...] about 15 Years of Photofocus – Things Change – Time For Me To Say So Long
Several years back when I was just starting out as a photographer I was focused on increasing my technical skills, getting my images clean and sharp and, at a very basic level, I was just trying to make beautiful photographs. Eventually I learned that photographers should have or adopt a certain "style" to their images. So then I started wondering ... did I have a style? If I did, I couldn't see it, and eventually my friend Scott Bourne let me in on what he could see: I did have a distinct style! That was music to my ears. Knowing that piece … [Read more...] about Don’t Force Your Style
If you want to learn to make art, you should learn from artists. A couple of weeks ago I learned an important lesson by contrasting painters and photographers. Painters do an activity called "En Plein Air", which refers to painting in the open air; photographers would call it shooting on location. There's this terrific contest in Logan, Utah requiring painters to have a blank canvas stamped Monday morning and then they have to submit finished work Wednesday morning as the kick off to the arts fair. The works they turn out in just two days are … [Read more...] about Want Quality Pictures? Savor Like a Painter